It can be hard to cover something so complex in under 300 words. I hope I did well.
“The Weary Blues” and “Trumpet Player”
Poetry, for many people, provides a way to express feelings that we may find difficult to share or explain to others. When comparing two poems written by Langston Hughes, it becomes easy to visualize the musicians and the pain that they are releasing through the music they play. In “The Weary Blues”, published in 1925, Hughes writes about a piano player who played a “sad raggy tune” that is “Coming from a black man’s soul”. In “Trumpet Player”, published in 1947, Hughes writes about “the negro with the trumpet at his lips” whose music “is honey mixed with liquid fire”. In each poem, the men have a deep emotion that they are expressing through their music. The man in the first poem is tired and sad, and the tune he plays is a “drowsy syncopated tune”, helping to share that feeling with us. In the second poem, the trumpet player’s song sounds sweet like “honey”, but played with such passion that it is perceived as “liquid fire”. Both men are weary, but the man in the first poem seems more tired, more exhausted, because of his memories; whereas, the man in the second poem is weary, but he’s not yet exhausted from the past he remembers, he still has a “smoldering memory” of the past, and shares that heated passion with us. We can also see that “The Weary Blues” was written 22 years before “Trumpet Player”, and still the past that the two men in the poems share still causes pain, frustration and anger, and ultimately a sorrowful acceptance. Langston Hughes may or may not have written these poems to share the pain he felt, but through his writing we are able to connect to the feelings of many African Americans to gain just a smidge of understanding of what their past feels like to them.